How to get 1 cent clicks with Instagram Story Ads

Instagram story ads are fast becoming one of the hottest ways for people to grow their followers and business.

It is no secret that Instagram is becoming more ‘pay to play’, and organic reach appears to be lowering in a similar fashion to what happened on Facebook.

The good news is if you know how to run effective story ads you won’t have to pay a fortune to get results. In this article we will discuss 9 easy steps you can implement in order to get the notorious 1 cent clicks with your Instagram story ads

$0.01 Instagram story ad clicks

1. Use Facebook Business Manager for $0.01 story ad clicks

One of the first errors people make when trying to achieve cheaper Instagram story ads is using the promote button within the Instagram app.

Promoting your story inside the app is limiting as it doesn’t allow you to do the detailed targeting necessary to consistently achieve 1 cent clicks.

For better results, connect your business Instagram account to a Facebook Business Manager so you can get access to more in-depth targeting tools.

Running Instagram story ads through Facebook allows you to get much better analytics and insights which creates easier split-test management.

Facebook Business Manager is like driving a manual transmission car, whereas the promote button is more like driving an automatic.

The promote button might be easier, but you won’t have the control you need to get those juicy $0.01 story clicks.

Instagram promote button

2. Spy on your competitors for story ad creative ideas

There is no need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to Instagram story ads. To get a good idea of what types of ads are working you will need to do some detective work. Research the top 10 pages in your niche and click on About this account, check if they have any active ads and see what type of creatives they are using.

Chances are these creatives are performing well.

If your competitors are not on Instagram, you can check them out on their Facebook page by clicking Page transparency and clicking on Ad library. The ads they are currently running will all be displayed here.

Alternatively, you could also check AdEpressos’ and Moat’s libraries to see some of the best ads in your industry. Find winning ads for inspiration and to repurpose some for your ads. You should never blatantly steal people’s ads!

3. Create multiple 15-second videos for your story ads

Don’t create just one ad and call it a day!

This is perhaps the biggest mistake people make when it comes to Instagram and Facebook advertising.

You should create a minimum of 3 different video ads for your story. If you have the budget to test more, it will save you money down the line.

Notice how I said video and not picture?

Keep away from pictures; videos are always more engaging and will get you better results.

If you are having trouble creating video ads for your Instagram stories, find a freelancer on Fiverr or Upwork who can create them for you.

There are many graphic designers and video editors who can do this type of work at an affordable price.

Your ad creatives will be the biggest factor in regard to getting clicks. I advise you take some time to choose them wisely.

For high converting story ad creatives make sure that your ads:

  • Grab people’s attention within the first 2 seconds
  • Are relevant to the audience
  • Have a clear and strong call to action
  • Have a strong incentive
  • Follow Facebook’s advertising guidelines
  • Are accurate and do not create bad user experiences

4. Use traffic and engagement campaigns to help get 1 cent clicks

If you are trying to lower the cost of your Instagram story ads and achieve 1 cent clicks, it’s probably a good idea to use traffic and engagement campaigns instead of conversion campaigns.

Conversion campaigns tend to be the most expensive and are best suited for those who have a warmed-up pixel and are looking for website conversions.

For people simply trying to gain more followers with Instagram story ads, traffic and engagement campaigns will be more than suitable.

Ideally you should split test between the two to see which one generates cheaper costs. The lower the cost per click, the more exposure you will have to your profile and the higher the chance for you to get more followers.

Instagram Story Ad Campaign Objective

5. Keep your ad set audience size as large as possible

Generally a bigger audience size will allow you to generate cheaper costs. The costs will be lower as Facebook will have more room to distribute your ads.

Facebook has limited ad space as there are many advertisers on the platform. If a lot of people bid for the same interests, then costs will go up and those with the deepest pockets will win.

Try keeping your audience as big as possible whilst still being relevant enough for you to get clicks. This allows Facebook to have some breathing room in optimizing your ads.

If you are trying to get the best bang for your buck, you should have worldwide targeting to an English-speaking audience (so they can understand your ads duh).

In my experience, getting 1 cent clicks becomes more difficult when the audience size is less than 50,000,000.

6. Optimize for link clicks

This one is a no brainer – if you want to get cheaper link clicks, you need to ensure you are optimizing for link clicks and getting charged for clicks rather than impressions.

These basic steps will ensure Instagram does not charge you for how many people they show the ad, but how many people click on the ad instead.

When you are trying to gain followers through story ads, you need to get people to actually see your profile for there to be a chance of their following you.

Instagram Story ads budget optimization

7. Test broad interests vs stacked interests

Let’s assume you have a fitness page and want to achieve 1 cent story ad clicks. In your targeting you could use a broad interest such as ‘bodybuilding’, which is an algorithm-based interest.

Facebook and Instagram create these interests based on people’s behavior on the platforms. If Bob made a status about hitting the gym, Facebook might put Bob in the bodybuilding interest category.

Just because Bob went to the gym once doesn’t necessarily mean he is into bodybuilding! These interests should be taken with a grain of salt.

A better approach might be to target people who liked the ‘Mr. Olympia’ page – a real page on Facebook.

The people who like these niche-based pages are more likely to be devout fans. Here is the rub.

These pages often have only 20k to 10 million users. Far too small for you to likely achieve 1 cent story clicks. To create a sufficient audience size you will need to stack these interests together.

Once you have your audiences make sure you test them against each other to the last ad set left standing. In the Game of Ad sets only one can sit on the Iron Throne. I suggest you start with a minimum $5 US budget per ad set.

8. Review results and see winning demographics

Once you have had some ad sets running for a minimum of 2 days, stop the losing ad sets and analyze the reports of the winners.

If you notice a trend – for example, females aged 44 and over are three times more expensive to advertise to than females below age 44 – you can duplicate the ad set and omit this demographic.

Keep testing different audiences until you find one that generates you very cheap clicks.

9. Create lookalike audiences based on ad engagement

If you have followed all these steps and still haven’t been able to get 1 cent story ad clicks, it’s time for you to bring out the big guns.

First you will need to create a custom audience based around the people who have interacted with your advertisements.

From the custom audience you will then create 3 lookalike audiences to test. The first will be 1%, the next 3-5%, and the last a 10% lookalike.

Lookalike audiences are powerful as Facebook will find all the people on the platform who share characteristics similar to those in our custom audience.

Remember, our custom audience is composed of only people who interacted with our ads and hence have shown interest. If our lookalike audience can’t get our costs down to 1 cent clicks, then the issue is likely our ad creative!

Change your creatives and try the process again.

Bonus Instagram story ad pro tips:

  • Don’t get discouraged if your ad sucks, it’s all about testing. Analyze the results to see what might have gone wrong then go back to the drawing board. It’s not failure, it’s data.
  • Have a plan of attack and stick to it. If you are going to run your split-tests for 3 days, run them for 3 days. Don’t turn off your ad impulsively.
  • If you want to make changes to an ad that is doing well, duplicate it and edit the copy. Don’t mess with an ad that is doing good!
  • Over time your ad costs might increase. Try and duplicate the ad and start it with a higher budget. The cost on the new ad might be lower. Simply turn off the old ad after.
  • Schedule checks for your ads.
  • TEST, TEST, TEST and when you are done TEST SOME MORE.
  • Constantly educate yourself or hire professionals if you are unsure.

Want it done for you?

Still struggling to get good results with Instagram story ads? Let some professionals handle this for you!

As Instagram becomes more pay to play, you need to ensure you know what you are doing. We have successfully helped many brands generate amazing results on Instagram and Facebook through utilizing ads.


Isaac Tinashe

Hi, I am Tinashe and I started delving into entrepreneurship in 2015. It started with YouTube, and I was drawn to having my own business even more as time passed. I am now the proud owner of digital marketing agency The Insta Hustle. My team and I work with clients ranging from dentists to real estate moguls and public figures. The world is changing and if you don't keep up you'll be left behind. Let me show you what is possible with digital marketing.